Games cheats have been an indelible part of video game history for as long as players can remember. While some may consider them to be cheating, others find them fun and exciting. From making enemies tougher to letting you walk through walls, these codes have changed the way gamers play games. Some even have their own dedicated YouTube channels.
While most game cheats are implemented by the player, some are created by developers themselves to help players test a title or simply to make the game more appealing to casual gamers. In the early days of gaming, third-party devices such as the Game Genie allowed gamers to use a simple user interface to perform POKE commands on games, often causing odd or humorous in-game changes.
Many game cheats involve modifying the game software, bypassing built-in protections. This is easier to do on a PC, where the code can be edited separately from the main program. This can be done through reverse engineering, modifying system drivers (like graphics ones) or even changing outbound network packets. This method is less common today, however, as most games are distributed in binary versions and most EULAs forbid modification of game software.
Scripting is another popular method of game hacking, which uses scripts to automate the process of playing the game. This method can be considered as cheating, or it can be legitimate if the script performs actions that could not be replicated by a human player. This type of cheating can be as simple as giving a character an unusual firing rate or as complex as making your character appear to fly through the air or teleport.
A game’s code may also be modified by the use of a third-party software or hardware device such as a trainer. These are generally more sophisticated in that they can modify the actual game’s engine or physics rather than just the user interface.
Some game hacks are created by simply scouring the game’s code for shortcuts that can be used to improve performance or unlock features. Other hackers use static analysis of assembly language, such as control flow graphs and call graphs to identify sensitive areas where patches can be applied. This is done using a variety of tools, including a disassembler and a hex editor.
The popularity of games cheats has spawned numerous websites, magazines and even TV shows devoted to identifying and listing them. Some of these are free, while others require membership to access the information. Regardless, it is clear that video game players are always looking for the next big advantage. From auto aiming to teleportation and invincibility, these tricks can turn the most frustrating game into a fun experience. While it’s not as easy as it was in the days of Frogger and Fragger, a good gamer can eventually overcome any challenge — if they know the right cheat codes.